Monday, July 24, 2017

10 Things Not To Say To Someone Leaving An Abusive Relationship

One thing harder than being in an abusive relationship is leaving. I, and a lot of other people have been there. I say people as LGBTQ people are often victims of domestic abuse and refuse to report it because of the bigotry of law enforcement, as are a lot of males. Leaving is a hurdle because it forces you to break to codependent cycle, as codependency is the addiction that kills the most people whether it is enabling the drug use or other addictive behavior of a loved one, or staying in an unhealthy relationship where your safety is at risk.

In the process of leaving a situation of codependency and abuse, here was some of the unhelpful feedback I got from well meaning people. They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions and these folks paved a highway. So I hope this helps someone out there who's either in the process of leaving an abusive partner, or someone who's trying to be of support so they are more successful in doing so.

“How Did You Let This Happen?” Well sometimes we don’t know what we sign up for until we fall into things. I take Nicole didn’t know OJ was a domestic abuser and murderer on their first date. Just like I didn’t know my charming former fiancĂ© would attempt suicide in front of me the first time I tried to leave. Bottom line, you don’t know someone until you know them. And by the time, it might be too late. 

   “You’re Awfully Bitter and Angry.” I have been through a lot and my feelings are still fresh. But the words I prefer are honest and real. And now that we are being honest and real, if you are going to continue to give me this feedback I don’t need you or want you in my life.

 “ It Makes People Uncomfortable When You Talk About It.” Yes, this was a legit letter I got on facebook from a (straight) man of course. I will continue to talk about it and I hope it makes people uncomfortable. Because in discomfort we can have a dialogue for change in culture, and change in the legal system to help people like myself. And in this same dialogue, we can also let people (because a lot of LGBTQ people are DV folks as well) know that they are not alone.  

   “You Need To Get Over Him.” That is so cute. Thank you for your feedback. I want to move on, but kind of tough when he won’t leave my property. Kind of tough when he calls and hangs up and I have to log them. Kind of tough when he threatens the people I am trying to date. But yeah, this is all because I am so hung up on the love he gave me. (Asshole).

“What Did You Do To Him?” To answer your question I tied him to the bed, blew him for hours, and then he fucked me in the ass. Since then, the sex with me has been like napalm in the morning. But this was after I killed this dog and nailed it to the tree and then cast a love spell because I am such an awful witch.  No, I did nothing you stupid fucking waste of flesh. You are victim blaming and that is unacceptable. People like you are the curse of DV people everywhere and it has kept us from getting the help we need. Now kindly step into traffic……

  “There Are People Have It Worse Than You.” Currently I am being stalked and harassed by my former lover. Until now I didn’t understand what it was to be hunted like wild game but now I do. The legal system doesn’t protect me as I am constantly reminded of his rights. My ex chased me through the bus station and harasses and threatens my friends to find out my whereabouts. I need a PO Box and unlisted address because if he shows up I am terrified he will kill me, and his sister told me she would so my fears are based in reality. But thank you for reminding me of the starving children in Africa and people with cancer. Their lives suck, I get it, but I am entitled to my rage and pain. The cancer peeps and kids in Africa called. They hate you too.

 “I Wish A Guy Would Obsess Like This Over Me.” Now this is when I ask does it hurt to be as stupid as you are?

 “What You Need Is Another Boyfriend.” You’re well intended, I get it. But I want to take my time and don’t want to end up with someone who’s worse. Let me deal with my trauma and abuse on my own timeline. There is no set schedule to heal. And also, maybe my ex is scaring my suitors away by threatening them. Maybe I need some time to myself to get help and to heal. I will get another boyfriend, but just not when you snap your fingers because me being a DV person makes you uncomfortable.

 “Just Get A Restraining Order.” It’s not that easy. They just don’t sell them at K-Mart. There are proceedings, court hearings, lawyers, and I even need to stalk him to some extent to get his address or to find out where he’s staying. And I am constantly reminded he has rights too. (It’s how it works). And even with an Order, he can send friends and family members to harass me, and he can disobey it. An order does not fix everything. And maybe it’s an avenue I am exploring already and hitting a dead end. But yeah, thanks.

   “You Have To Be Compassionate. He’s Sick.” Yes, I am aware of his mental illness. I am well aware of his history of drug abuse and psychotic episodes. Have you ever considered that my compassion turned into enabling and that I put myself into risky situations because I mistook codependency for love? While I believe he needs compassion and professional help, I also need to take the appropriate actions to keep myself sane but most importantly, safe.  



Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Built This Way (Samantha Ronson)

Summer in New York is the season of love. You walk down the street smiling and some creep hears I love you. Plain as day.
NYC is a weird place in the summer. The catcalls echo through the streets by the throngs of creepy men who want to take you to their cardboard boxes and take you no where. Women can legally be topless in NYC, but it’s a situation where you play at your own risk. Then there are the asshole men who claim it is your fault if you get groped. Your ass is hanging out. Your boobs are showing. You are a tease. But are you? Are you a tease for minding your own business?
Tough to know.
This past Saturday I had an experience. I was going to get my hair done and a creepy dude begged me for change. He followed me. I lost him. Creep.
Then I went to get my eyebrows threaded. Sure enough there he is smelling of weed, piss, and has his dreads. He follows me again. I tell him to get lost. Getting my brows threaded I didn’t panic. The city is filled with trash and the summer is when they all come out to play.
Finally, I was hungry. Headed home and possibly work. He follows me again. Follows me for several blocks. I tell him to stop. I take out my keys to use as a possible weapon. I don’t care if I get arrested. I am defending myself. The men on the block don’t stop. While they are possibly heading to their own day unaware I am being followed, it feels like they are all colluding together in brute force as part of the rape culture that is ruinous to both genders.
I am now terrified. This is how women die.
I get a friend on the phone because the NYPD are useless in an emergency. By the time they get there you are dead or close to dying. They are apathetic, undertrained, understaffed, and out of shape. My heart is beating. I tell her what’s going on. She asks where I am. She tells me to call the cops and if I don’t text her when I get inside my house she will call the cops.
I see the bastard staring at me. “I’m Shane.” He says.
“I am calling the cops, Shane.” I said.
“You wouldn’t do that to me, you love me.”
“We are breaking up and the police are helping me.” 911 is on the phone. Shane hears me. He slinks away. My heart is beating out of my chest. I want to die. I want to die. I want to die.
I am a DV person. I have had a partner hit me. This is all too visceral and real. I feel like maybe had I left the house in a full head scarf and snow suit this creep would have left me alone. I want to crawl under my covers and die. That way the pain won’t kill me. That way he can’t come back and kill me and win. I am so paranoid I order food in.
An older gentlemen who mentors me is the one stuck comforting me. I end up crying and yelling. I can tell he is cursing his life as he tells me it’s going to be alright. How the fuck does he know? As a white male over 60 he wins every election. He is a straight white male. He has always won every election regardless of what he voted for or who. He tells me people have it worse than me. Way to make me feel worse. Way to make me feel like a selfish piece of shit on top of the fact I feel like a piece of trash. Just then, I realize he is trying to comfort me in the way he knows how. He is trying his best. He isn’t chasing me out of his life. Take the friendship asshole. You aren’t dead.
And he suggests going into a store to ask for help if Shane returns.
The next day feels better. I am out. I am free. I have my book to be peddle.
In a good mood I call my friend to apologize. He’s not home. He calls back. The White Knight and his timing as usual are impeccable as seconds later, my landlord pounds on my door. “April, there is a guy out front to see you.”
I tell my friend I will call him back.
The window is open and pot is wafting in. My landlord’s parents, both in their 80s, are saying the guy is talking to himself. He is a “character” and won’t leave until he can talk to the pretty blonde named April. He’s got dreadlocks. He’s the creep from the boulevard. Now I am just pissed. “It’s the creep that followed me yesterday and he knows my name!” I screamed. “How the fuck does he know my name.”
Just then my landlord emerges. While he’s not tall, he grew up in Little Italy when it was Little Italy. He worked dice games for mobsters. He’s seen dead bodies. Shane didn’t scare him. “Get out of here, or I will call the cops or kill you. Or I might do both, do you hear me you mutherfucker!” My landlord says. There is a baseball bat near the door. My landlord picks it up.
“Sorry.” Shane says and slinks away.
I end up calling my friend back. A former cop, he is telling me how to have Shane arrested in the future. I don’t want to hear it. I tell my friend he’s an asshole and start verbally abusing this poor old man. My friend, while kind, tells me to stop and means it. I start crying. He comforts me. The poor sonvabitch has been avoiding me for days and now I know why. I would avoid me too. I have been a handful. Actually, we did speak and we are cool. He says he’s so old he’s forgotten, but I know April being April is too much even for April.
The next day I hear Shane had been making a nuisance of himself by knocking on the doors of the elderly asking if they had a hot blonde named April in the house. The asshole was persistent. I gotta give him that. This psychotic male admirer puts me first, and not many psychotic male admirers do that. Shane even mentioned he had seen me on TV and even knew about my book and recognized me. And here I was, thinking I lost my magic touch.

Either way, I am done blaming myself. I am done living in self-pity. Shane better get his quarters together from begging and buy my damn book so my bank account can know I have stalkers. And you should, too.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Hunting For Witches

It was my sophomore year of high school. I still remember my sister Skipper squealing about Billy Jessup. Apparently he was the number one crush of the eighth grade. I didn’t get the appeal. The kid looked like Howdy Duty with a bad attitude. I am not into awkwardly placed red hair and freckles, but my sister was in love with this bad ass Mortimer Snerd.
That year, she did a project with him in a science class. Skipper was always a top student, and won the award for best GPA. Billy, on the other hand, had recently been disciplined by the middle school principal for cutting school and heading to the mall. Fortunately, Skipper had not picked him as a partner, but rather the teacher felt the need for the kids to mix by assigning boy/girl pairs.
Billy’s parents rewarded his bad behavior by getting him the latest in video game technology for his bedroom television. It was a parenting move I didn’t understand. If I would have cut school, I would have been met with the cold, sharp end of my father’s belt buckle. Yes, we were a spanking house. No, we didn’t cut school. And no, we didn’t have TVs in our rooms.
While the project started with Skipper having a crush on Billy, the attraction faded when she was handed most if not all the work. Billy simply stuck his name on it and that was the end. Of course, I was sent to retrieve my sister from his academic misadventure. When I entered the palace called the Jessup home, my sister was helping Mrs. Jessup wash the dishes. Billy was no where to be found.
Mrs. Jessup seemed like a nice enough woman. Tired and beleaguered, it seemed like she was a walking, talking doormat. William, as she referred to him, was playing his videogames. Okay. Meanwhile, Skipper, always the helper, was embarrassed for Mrs. Jessup so she was pitching in. After all, Skipper was so abused because she was required to do chores. Meanwhile, this one and only brat was worshipped for living and breathing. I had just gotten grief for my C on my latest math test. Put me on that program please.
Weeks after the project, young Billy was arrested for shoplifting.  While he was a marginal hockey player at best, he was passionate. Instead of military school or even grounding him, his parents splurged and got him a private coach who had previously worked with The Pittsburgh Penguins. Positive reinforcement is a wonderful thing, but this was simply just rewarding bad behavior. As a matter of fact, my father had the best response when he heard about the Jessup’s approach to their son’s recent arrest: “If that isn’t setting him up to be a guest of the state of Pennsylvania I don’t know what is.”
The following year Billy went to high school. He played JV hockey, and he didn’t make much noise in my memory, that is, until he came to school with a black eye, cast and crutches on one day. Hobbling down the hall, everyone demanded to know what happened. Billy had a story to tell. Over the weekend, he had gotten into a huge fight with varsity hockey captains Mike Stelnik and Rob Thompson. Apparently, he had not moved their pads and they jumped him after practice. When they left him cold and bleeding, injured, they drove away. Billy made his way home and his mother was forced to take him to the hospital. Nothing was broken but his ankle was sprained, his arm was sprained, his ribs were bruised and his eye had actually swollen shut.
I was shocked. Rob Thompson was a big mouth who dyed his hair peroxide blonde and had a jerk father who sported his trophy wife at the hockey games. But Rob wasn’t a bully. If anything, he was a friend to a lot of people and was likely to give you a high five on a bad day. Mike Stelnik was just nuts. He made a career of being ejected from games and always had a black eye or broken finger, but yet still made his name as a wing on the ice. His family went to my mass, and his sister had severe spinal bifida. Stelnik’s dad owned a contracting business, and talked about making an obscene amount of money. His mom had black hair with a skunk stripe and kept her Halloween decorations up until Christmas, and her Christmas decorations up until the 4th of July. These kids were a great many things, but not bullies.
Nonetheless, the consequences came down very quickly. Thompson and Stelnik both got a visit by the police, and because the incident happened on school ground they were even talking about expelling them at a separate hearing. In between, because the school pressed charges, there was also an appointment with the magistrate.
Of course peer justice was also enacted on these two. While both fancied themselves swinging ladies men, their dreams were crushed when their girlfriends of the week dumped them. The words of Misty Trainor, head majorette and former flame of Thompson, “I watched a video about domestic violence. You beat Billy up. You are going to beat me up too.”
The football team took this as an opportunity to do some punishment of their own. While those guys liked Thompson and Stelnik, the football players often felt the hockey players were their smaller, flashier, richer, yet less tough cousins. (Hockey was a club sport). Josh Nichols, football captain, made it his business to bump into these two insisting he could do what they did to Billy in one shot. While he was a gentle giant, Nichols didn’t have much mental activity. Yet like the rest of us, he had joined the witch hunt.
Even the hockey coaches were having Stelnik and Thompson run and do extra workouts. These guys were being punished in a way that made the gas chamber look good.
Meanwhile, Billy Jessup was fairing quite well. Every girl in the freshmen class carried his books. Skipper took a turn, even though she claimed she was “over him.” His teachers were lenient with his grades. The hockey coach promised him a starting position if he recovered in time for next year. And his dad, auspiciously away on business in Thailand, came home early. Even his grandparents, who apparently had a lot of money, purchased him a horse. It seemed this injury was the best thing to happen to Billy.
As Stelnik and Thompson saw their lives going to complete ruin, they stopped me in the hall. “You got to help us Brucker. You got to tell people we are innocent.” Thompson begged.
“Why, because you didn’t do it? Please.” I said.
“We didn’t do it. We were away at a hockey tournament in Canada with our traveling team. I even got ejected from the game.” Stelnik offered. “Here is my latest broken finger. How could I have punched him with the broken finger if I wasn’t in the country?”
Now I was puzzled. “I was with him. It’s our travelling team. And we don’t even know who the kid is. I mean, we saw him once maybe. But how could we beat him up if we weren’t here and don’t even know him?” Thompson asked.
“Then why is he saying you did?” I demanded. “He’s injured.”
“Hell if we know. But the cops aren’t pressing charges because we proved we were out of the country. That’s why we aren’t suspended or expelled. He’s lying.” Stelnik explained. “Besides, why would I bully someone? My sister’s disabled.”
I looked at the both of them. Their eyes were big and fearful. They were telling the truth. They didn’t do this. I had known these guys for years. Sure, they teased. They made fun. But they weren’t vicious and violent without provoking.
“Then who did it?” I asked.
“My uncle’s a detective. He thinks this kid might be being abused.” Thompson offered.
“I have been to his house. This kid gets rewards for messing up. That’s not the case.” I said. And then the next words still echo in my mind as I assured them. “But I believe you.”
The next twist to the story would shock the living hell out of everyone.
After questioning and the police not pressing charges, it turned out Billy Jessup had not been beaten up by Thompson and Stelnik. He made the story up. And a family member hadn’t hit him either. Billy Jessup had beaten himself up. The truth came out after the stories of Thompson and Stelnik checked out, and his began to fall apart.
By beating himself up he got sympathy from his teachers, his father to come home from Thailand, a horse from his distant grandparents, the promise of a starting spot on the hockey team, and attention from women. Stelnik and Thompson were vindicated. And when asked if they would beat Billy Jessup up for real they replied, “Why? He did a better job of it than we ever could?”
Billy went from being temporarily popular to persona non grata very quickly. He dropped out of school the following year, and after another shoplifting arrest was placed in night school. Billy was then arrested for heroin possession, and after rehab his parents got him a brand new convertible to increase his self-esteem. This epic fail ended in Billy using those wheels, leaving their house, and buying drugs in a bad neighborhood where he overdosed on a bad batch and died.
In between, people who talked to him claimed he was super crazy. Talking about people following him and his food being poisoned. He also claimed he could speak troll. This could have been more nonsense to get attention, or it could have been something more. Either way, he was dead at 18. When my sister went to his wake, she said that while it was sad, he also looked like he was finally at peace.
As this was all happening, I was taking a college psych class and learning about mental illness in adolescents. Apparently it begins around the age of 15, the time Billy began shoplifting and skipping class. They also act out by self injuring, and more often than not self-medicating with drugs.
That spring, Skipper graduated first in the class and gave a speech to a round of applause. Directly after, Billy’s parents accepted his diploma. They looked sad, tired, and defeated. Their well intended over indulgence had failed. If anything, their son didn’t need a new video game or car, but professional help. And a hug while they were at it. Instead, they chose to ignore the problem hoping presents and treats would make it go away.
While the applause celebrated the deceased, the real tragedy was that every adult in his life had failed to see a young man who was in trouble. As we begin to understand more about how mental illness manifests, we also forget the people lost because so many missed a young person who was severely sick.
We also forget that we cannot always believe everything we hear. And yes, lying is a symptom of mental illness. Stelnik went on to play minor league hockey and now coaches in Vermont. Thompson brought the small private college he played for to the championships and now works for JP Morgan in Chicago. Both are still very loud but lovable and have extremely hot wives. They eventually got over the slander and moved on. Billy didn't. While his lies, often a symptom of mental illness, caused a lot of damage, in the end these two were right, he beat himself up more than they ever could. Billy beat himself to death. As I write this, I will say at the time I was disgusted, but now I feel remorse and regret for a person who fell through the cracks because of the stigma and misunderstanding surrounding mental illness.
I hope tonight Billy is safe wherever he is, happy and not being harmed by his own hand or another. I hope he is experiencing love and understanding outside of fancy presents and over indulgence. I hope he has found rest from the demons that so plagued him. RIP Dear Heart.


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Josh

In health class, we didn’t just have abstinence speakers appealing to the women, we had some that appealed to the men, too. Hey, the Christianity is about being fair so they decided to shame everyone.
Coach Ryan explained that having a male speaker would show young men that sex outside of marriage was both immoral and dangerous. While he explained young men could shirk their parental responsibilities and dodge court if their teen lady friend were to become pregnant, there were other consequences. In a sessions where it was only the men and the women were relegated to watch an awful anti-sex video, Coach Ryan apparently told the guys, “One thing about sex is that it can give you diseases and low self-esteem. Trust me, my first wife gave me both.”
Silence.
Who could top that confession?
As the men were being lectured, the women got to watch a crazy, anti-sex video. Promise rings flashing in the class, we were witness to a man on screen who spoke in a thick Southern accent. With a cross around his neck, he claimed to be a doctor. “He’s a man of God and medicine.” One girl said. She had recently become born again and was saving herself for marriage. It was working out because she was shrill, annoying, and guys seemed to dislike her anyway.
The doctor explained anal sex was a dangerous alternative. All the Jesus loving girls who couldn’t deny their raging God given hormones notoriously used it as an alternative because if it didn’t enter the front it didn’t count.
The doctor had other thoughts. He explained a young man and woman thought they could cheat this way. However, because “both things were next door to each other” the girl got pregnant and got anal cancer. That’s when the doctor informed us, “It was a bummer this happened.” I don’t know who edited that script, but it was the most unintentionally funny thing ever and the whole room started laughing.
Needless to say he explained the young man didn’t get off the hook either. He was so enticed and seduced after anal that he became a practicing homosexual. The doctor explained because AIDS was the gay plague, that the average age of the practicing homosexual was 35. Years later, this misinformation and homophobic statement boggles my mind.
Since the women had an abstinence speaker, it was decided the guys should have one too. Enter Josh.
Much like Renee (see previous blog), Josh was good looking. He wasn’t super tall, but was muscular and built. His eyes were deep, rich and brown. Josh had tan skin and dark hair. He was like the hero in one of my mom’s trash romance novels she listened to on tape. The second I saw Josh I dreamed of him renouncing his decision to be abstinent and bending me over the table and fucking my brains out.
From the look in the eyes of every girl in the class, they had the same dream. The Jesus girls were trying to hide it, but they wanted to be screaming, “OH GOOOOODDDDDD!!!!!” in a different sort of way. Josh was a hot piece of ass. Sexy Jesus could rob my virginity any time.
Josh began to speak. Unlike Renee, he sounded sane and didn’t seem to exchange sex stories with his sister. Josh explained when not educating teens about abstinence, he was a graduate student in biomedical engineering and was a triathlete. He was 25 and still a virgin, but it was because he was waiting for the right woman.
All I could think was, I am the right woman Josh. I will take your virginity in the coat closet. It will be hell because it will be the first time for the both of us. When my mother find out she will be disappointed. My father will probably want to shoot you and is cleaning his gun as I am having this fantasy. But damnnnnnnnnnnn you are so fine I want to 6969…….
As Josh talked, I was busily drooling and his words were going in one ear and out the other. He went to church but it was a mainline denomination. His explained two of his church mates hadn’t been abstinent in their previous relationships but decided to renew their virginity with a Christian courtship. They hadn’t even kissed until their wedding day. But Josh said it was a kiss that was so full of love and so pure it stopped the whole church. This was like something out of a Hallmark movie. Josh had every girl in the class, but the guys were getting restless.
“Douche.” Rob Thompson said. Rob was the captain of the hockey team. His claim to fame was getting a lot of girls, being ejected from games, and refusing to wash his blood soaked jersey for luck. Rob was looking better because his recent black eye had healed and his tooth had been repaired. While he was a loud mouth and a bit of a crazy man, Rob wasn’t a bully. He told it like he saw it. What wasn’t to love?
Just then it was Q and A time. Jenny Francis, a teen ambassador for March for Life raised her hand. A big grin on her face, I could tell she too had been rocking sexy Jesus. “I admire your decision to say no to sex and sin and obey God……” This was going no where good.
Jenny continued, big crazy eyes and brown hair in a pony tail, “What would you tell someone who was being pressured into sex?”
“Go for it.” Rob Thompson said. I tried hard not to laugh.
“I would say wait for your true love.” Josh replied.
“But what if your true love was injured and deformed in an automobile accent?” Jenny asked.
“Worst question ever. And my dad’s on his third wife. He says all you want is a bitch that isn’t crazy.” Oh Rob, how I loved thee, badly dyed peroxide hair and all.
“Well, I would probably leave her.” Josh replied.
Every girl in the class now let out a collective gasp. All at once, Josh had stopped being cute. My fantasies of having rabid jungle monkey sex with him stopped, but now they came to a screeching halt for everyone.
“What!” Krista Smith said. She was also am ambassador for life.
“Listen, when someone’s appearance changes and they are physically deformed, I am no longer attracted to them and I cannot be with someone I am no longer attracted to. That is why Quasimodo was alone in The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” Josh told us.
The room went silent. We hoped he was kidding but he wasn’t. Finally, Rob Thompson decided to unleash his wisdom. “Man, the only reason you decided to be a virgin is because you are an idiot who cant get a girl.” The whole class laughed. Ordinarily Coach Ryan would have stopped this but Josh had earned this verbal ass whopping.
“Son, I have elected not to have a woman.” Josh informed him.
“If you dated my sister I would chase you out of my house.” Rob fired back.
“I wouldn’t sleep with your sister.” Josh said.
“My sister wouldn’t sleep with you either and neither would any girl in here. Face it man, you are a loser. And you can have safe sex. Just use a rubber.” Rob pointed out. While Rob’s academic eligibility was always tenuous at best, this was the smartest thing we had heard in a while.
“What would you know about sex?” Josh was now angry.
“Enough to have had it with three different ladies and enough to currently have a girlfriend. Which means I am doing better than you.” Just then the bell rang. Coach Ryan had a look of embarrassment that was far outweighed by amusement. His whole life Josh had never been able to bag a babe and it would never happen. And he was defeated in a debate by Rob Thompson. He could study biomedicine. He could compete in triathalons. He could even talk about abstinence. At the end of the day, Josh proved that if you are 25 and still a virgin……..it’s not just your choice. It’s everyone’s.

I was thinking of sending a copy of my book to Josh. It’s a good deed because he is probably still a virgin. At the end I’ll write, “Hope you enjoy. Xoxox Another Girl Who Won’t Sleep With You.”


And you should


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Rock Me Sexy Jesus (Hamlet 2)

I grew up in a very conservative area. In the morning, when going to school, it was not uncommon to see a prayer circle by the flag pole. There were teachers who had Bible study in their classrooms at lunch. Our school even had an unofficial youth group, Campus Life. Their leader, a white haired adult, wandered the cafeteria looking for fresh blood. Vulnerable lost souls, he would recruit them and tell them to get their friends to come to youth group. So many new recruits and there would be a pizza party.

The principal our school got half way through high school expelled him from the premises. Many of us were creeped out but long since stayed silent. After all, we didn't want the wrath of his Bible quoting parrots upon us. Later this youth group leader went to prison as a sex offender. You fill in the rest.

I still remember Renee like it was yesterday.

Our conservative school board was afraid if sex education was taught, kids would have sex. After all, this was the land of the promise ring. Translated, I promise not to have sex in your front, but we can play poker all night in your rear. So they figured if they gave us abstinence education, we wouldn't have sex let alone sex urges at all. Wet dreams and 17 Magazine quizzes were from Satan. God wanted us to stay pure. Jesus the long haired hippie who was screwing a hooker and had a rich Dad wanted this too. Oh and this socialist Jew of course would love the gay hating going on too.

At the front of the health room, there was an acrostic poem on the wall. On the white painted brick it read, BIBLE, Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. As class began, papers rattled. The goth kids began to explain there was no God, only Marilyn Manson. While the existence of God is debatable, that was a weak argument. One of the religious nuts, who later would come tumbling out of the closet, screamed that the kid wearing eye makeup was gay. That no man shall lay with another man the way he lies with a woman and blah blah blah. There were two more hours left in the day. Yet high school insecurity and people tenuously holding on to an identity know no time nor hour. 

Our teacher, the football coach, introduced Renee. A pretty blonde, she was tall and leggy like you would want her number at a bar. But under all that pretty and behind those eyes you knew was a hell of a lot of crazy. Renee told us from the bat she went to church. Oh yes, church chicks are the most horny. At least thats what my guy friends tell me now.

Renee began by telling us she saved herself for marriage. She said her mother explained sex was like M & Ms. Once you had one, you would have the entire bag. Renee opened the bag and poured them down her throat. As she did this, everyone, regardless of belief or nonbelief, stood in utter horror. Renee narrowly managed to avoid choking. 

My best friend beside me, she asked, "Did this just happen?"

"Yes." I said. 

Renee continued to tell us that her brother had just gotten married. On his wedding day, Renee told him that now he could have sex. That is when her brother apparently buried his head in his hands and told her that he had previously had sex. And he had sinned. Looking back, not only do I assume this is the weirdest brother/sister relationship ever, but this family tree was possibly a straight line.

The class ended with Renee having two girls do a skit. One being the mother and the other being the daughter. The daughter had to tell her mother she was pregnant, and the mother had to tell her daughter that her life was basically over.

Note, there was no talk of the man having any responsibility whatsoever. No talk of adoption. Not even exploring abortion. It was the woman who sinned and now she was having a baby. Ironically Kally James, my sworn enemy was the girl in the sketch. A talented artist, she decided she hated me and regularly called me a slut. Meanwhile she was sleeping with a set of twins who were the class ahead of us. Because Renee was so busy slut shaming and not talking about responsibility, Kally would continue to have sex with both boys without the use of condoms, because keeping condoms meant you intended to sin. 

Needless to say, Kally had to drop out a year later when she got pregnant and had a baby. Did I mention my high school had the highest teen pregnancy rate in the area? Yeah, so Renee didn't teach me how to put a condom on, but in a pinch I can throw a baby in a dumpster.

Years later, I consider myself a sex positive feminist. My message affirms all women are beautiful in all sizes, as long as they are physically and emotionally healthy. I also know safe sex isn't about slut shaming or abstinence but having sex with someone you feel safe with. 

My current book is really funny. It explores my fear of being naked in public. The photos are rather steamy and I will admit it was fun to put together. Sadly, there are no M & Ms. That being said, do you think I should send Renee a copy? 


To buy go to:

https://www.amazon.com/April-Unwrapped-Naked-Dreams-Revealed/dp/0984208577